Editor’s Note: At Cardinal Rule Press, one of our goals is to provide you with tips, tricks and advice to help your bookstore or library thrive. And this tip today? Well, we think it is pretty genius because we know one of the biggest barriers to reading books is figuring out what that next great read is. This summer, we’re going to take a deep dive into why and how to set this service.
In an age when one has an entire world of information at their fingertips, they are still struggling with the same question generations before them have struggled with…. What should I read next?
As a busy working mom who loves to read, it is a question I ask myself often. I don’t have time to browse the shelf, read publisher lists or keep up an account on Goodreads. I have time set penciled in my schedule to read everyday, but I don’t want to waste my time on books that I’m not going to love (sorry, I know that’s an unpopular opinion).
A “what should I read next” program (here on referred to as WSIRN) is a matchmaking program where a bookseller or librarian recommends a book to a patron based on information and data they’ve collected via survey.
Setting up and maintaining a WSIRN program has some labor and manpower associated. However the return on investment will be increased book sales at your shop or visitors through the door of your library, which we know aligns with your goals. Beyond revenue, there are auxiliary benefits to setting up a program like this one.
Filling out a WSIRN survey acts as an opt in for your email newsletter list. The industry is focused on social media growth right now which is great, but at Cardinal Rule Press, we believe you should focus your time and attention on growing your email list because you own that data. Social media accounts are great…. Until they decide they’re no longer going to exist (rest in peace, Google Plus and MySpace).
A WSIRN survey provides you with concrete data about what your customers are interested in. Imagine if you could peek inside the brain of your customer to figure out exactly what books you should purchase next? If you ask the right questions on your WSIRN survey, they’ll provide you with data to drive your future purchases. You’ll be able to anticipate the needs of your customers in a way you’ve never been able to before!
A WSIRN program is a great way to find your super fans. This program won’t be the right fit for everyone who comes through your door, but it will give you a chance to get to know a hyper-loyal consumer audience who trusts your advice to solve a problem they have and gives you an opportunity to build a relationship with them beyond the checkout counter or register.
WSIRN Program Survey Set Up
To set up your WSIRN survey, you’ll need a place to host your survey and collect the data. There are several free options available.
Google Forms will allow you to collect the most responses for free, but it does not have the most design features. If you want to make it look pretty, Typeform, WuFoo and Jotform have more design options but limit the number of responses you can collect each month for free.
WSIRN Survey Questions
Here are the questions we recommend you ask on your survey.
Survey Introduction: Thank you so much for filling out this survey for our “What Should I Read Next Program.” By completing the form below, you agree to receive further communication from us to recommend books to you as well as announcements about special programs and upcoming events. We’re excited to help you find your next great read!
- Email Address
- Age (only if you’d like us to take this into account)
- Library Card Number (if applicable)
- Please list 3 authors you love and what you enjoy about them.
- Tell us about the last book you didn’t love, what didn’t you like about it?
- What are your favorite television shows, movies or magazines?
- Do you read the newspaper?
- Should we limit our recommendations to specific genres? If so, which ones?
- Action / Adventure
- Biography / Memoir
- Historical Fiction
- Literary Fiction
- Psychological Thriller
- Romantic Suspense
- Science Fiction
- Other (please tell us more)
- Please specify the mood and style of the books you would be interested in reading. Select all that apply.
- Happy and positive
- Thought provoking
- Easy to read
- What phrase would you use to describe your favorite book?
- I like page turners
- I like stories that focus on character development
- I enjoy getting lost in other settings and time periods
- I like books that make me think
- I like books where the focus is on language/writing style
- What are three words that describe your perfect book match?
- Are their any topics we should avoid? We can’t promise, but we’ll do our best!
- Are you looking for books in a specific format?
- Large Print Book
For more tips, tricks, and helpful resources, make sure and subscribe to the Cardinal Rule Press Newsletter HERE.
NJ Rongner is a digital marketing expert who consumes books like she does air. She loves marketing, books, coffee and living in MA (although not necessarily in that order).a